UK electronics must prep for post-Brexit era, says ESCO

January 26, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Tony King-Smith, the recently-appointed CEO of ESCO – a UK think-tank on electronics – wants the electronics sector to make a push to gain the recognition and support it deserves.

ESCO (the Electronics and Electrical Systems Council) has said the UK's electronics firms must grab the opportunity of a just-published green paper on industrial strategy from the UK government to create an environment that can support bigger tech companies and make the UK more attractive for startups to form and scale up.

King-Smith, an electronics industry veteran and past executive vice president of marketing at processor IP licensor Imagination Technologies Group plc, was appointed to head up ESCO late in 2016 and told eeNews Europe, that electronics is an under-represented discipline in government policy discussions partly because it underpins so much of modern society.

Tony King-Smith, CEO of ESCO.

King-Smith said electronics and software are behind almost every innovation in the automotive, communications, consumer goods, industrial and aerospace sectors. And yet it is so obvious and ubiquitous that it can get forgotten and the companies that do the fundamental work are often eclipsed by the market leaders in those application sectors.

"When you add it all together electronics and technology companies employ a million people in the UK and there are about 45,000 companies. We've got to pull together as one industry," King-Smith said.

The publishing of the Industrial Strategy Green Paper is an invitation for interested parties to engage with the UK government and help determine priorities for investment and support, and King-Smith said he is determined that electronics, embedded software and technology generally are championed. "It is heartening to see that R&D is recognised as a core pillar – something the electronic and electrical systems businesses typically invest heavily in," said King-Smith.

Next: Skills, training, immigration, exports